The 105th running of the Indianapolis 500® Mile Race (Indy 500®) was held on May 30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana, USA. This year’s race featured 33 drivers from 15 countries, the largest number ever, including nine previous Indy 500® champions – making the lineup even more special. During qualifying, Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing /Honda) recorded 231.685 mph, setting the stage for an exciting race. Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing /Honda) was projected to win the race for a third time heading in to race day.
■Firestone and Bridgestone to compete in the Indy 500® with 5,000 tires.
Firestone has been the exclusive tire supplier for the NTT INDYCAR® SERIES, including the Indy 500®, since 2000, and has earned a reputation for consistency and reliability among teams and drivers. Firestone has a record of 72 Indy 500® wins, more than double than any other tire manufacturers combined.
Approximately 70 people help in the development and manufacturing of these race tires in Akron, Ohio, and are supported by 40 staff members from the Performance Tire Service Company. These two companies, along with five teammates from the Bridgestone Americas headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, have been at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May.
Before the race, Cara Adams, Chief Engineer and Director of Race Tire Engineering & Manufacturing, said, "We tested the 105th Indy 500® during the off-season, resulting in the same compound and construction used in 2020. We have determined that the tires we use will continue to provide the best performance. This year, the Indy 500® will continue to offer excellent grip and wear characteristics, providing optimum durability and consistency. "
■Takuma Sato joins the battle for victory in the race.
After the first round of qualifying on the 22nd, Scott Dixon took the lead and advanced to the Firestone Fast Nine Shootout. Takuma Sato unfortunately couldn't crack the top nine and was relegated to start the race in 15th. The following day during the Firestone Fast Nine Shootout, nine drivers were competing for the first nine grid spots. Scott Dixon took the lead following, winning his fourth Indy 500® pole position. Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport /Honda) qualified second, and Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing /Chevrolet) was third, setting up the front row for race day.
In the first few laps of the race Scott Dixon, who started the race from the pole, fought a fierce battle for the lead against Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing /Honda), Patricio O'Ward (Arrow McLaren SP/Chevrolet), and Helio Castroneves (Meyer Shank Racing/Honda). Takuma Sato, who started 15th, used a clever strategy to move up to the top of the leaderboard in the final laps, putting him in contention to battle for the win. The battle continued until the last two laps, when Helio Castroneves overtook Alex Palou on the 198th lap and drove away to win this year's Indy 500. Takuma Sato was forced to pit for fuel in the last 7 laps relegating him to a 14th place finish.
■The winner is Helio Castroneves! Tied for the most Indy 500® wins in history!
The winner, Helio Castroneves, is a veteran Indy 500® driver who has competed in the event since 2001, winning in 2001, 2002, and 2009. This was his fourth Indy 500® victory, allowing him to join an elite group of racing legends who have won the Indy 500® four times – A J Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears. Helio Castroneves won his fourth Indy 500® race at the age of 46, 20 years after he won his first Indy 500®, with his ageless driving and toughness (including his infamous fence climbing after the race), a record breaking fifth win, may be in his future.
This year's Indy 500® welcomed back fans at a 40% venue capacity, which means 135,000 spectators returned to the legendary race track to watch Helio make history. The next race, will be held on June 12 in Detroit, Michigan, and Firestone/Bridgestone will continue its support... so stay tuned for all the action!